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Castle Renovator (Xbox One) Review

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Ready your squire and mount your steed, Ultimate Games’ Castle Renovator transports us back to a time when mud was in abundance and decaying teeth were rife. Adding to the ceaseless torrent of simulator games (we’re not complaining) released this year, this fresh console release is, in fact, Steam’s Castle Flipper under a brand new moniker.

Castle Renovator – Gameplay

Contrary to the name, during our two-hour run, we were yet to see a single castle. Instead, we were burdened with menial tasks such as clearing garbage, catching scurrying rats, and repairing broken chairs. The game starts in your kingdom. If you’re expecting sprawling lands and peasants to look down on, lower those high hopes. In Castle Renovator your kingdom starts as nothing more than a small, fenced-off community garden.

Using resources collected from other jobs, this land can be expanded upon and you can build your very own house. The actual process of building is actually quite entertaining. Starting with the foundations, you build the shell of your house and then add material at the tap of a hammer (strangely). With stone as one of the material options, we’re assuming that your home can eventually be upgraded to a castle.

Our Experience of Castle Renovator

We played four or five quests of Castle Renovator, each remarkably similar to the last. The process seems like it will be pretty much the same throughout: clean up debris, repair the occasional item and catch infesting rodents. Undoubtedly, as you progress through the game, these quests will grow in grandeur and scale.

While Castle Renovator seems to be very much a case of rinse and repeat, this is pretty much unavoidable in games of this ilk. There seems to be a decent selection of tools to be unlocked in later levels, true to manual labor simulation games these will inevitably come with their own mini-games. This leaves plenty of potential for monotony-breaking moments that so often become the redeeming qualities of recently released simulation games.

The Medieval Melodies of Castle Renovator

Our first impressions of the sound in Castle Renovator were favorable. However, it didn’t take long for the short-looping medieval instrumental to become more irritatingly repetitive than atmospherically ambient. Moving on from the sounds of a distant memory-devoid minstrel, the sound effects are clean and clear, albeit a fraction delayed.

Castle Renovator – Graphics and Controls

The graphical makeup of Castle Renovator leaves a lot to be desired. Textures pop in and out as you’re navigating the world; lazy detailing is reminiscent of early Xbox 360 titles and – with impossibly dark nights – nothing can be done after sundown, even with a torch equipped. It’s frustrating to behold in the day and age because a little more effort in the graphics department would have gone a long way.

Furthermore, there’s something about the controls that just doesn’t feel right. They somehow feel both under-sensitive and over-sensitive, at the same time. This paradox is more noticeable when navigating tight corners like the dock steps in the ship level. With that being said, it’s nothing a little tweaking and tuning on their part wouldn’t fix.

Castle Renovator – Summary

Despite its naturally repetitive nature, Castle Renovator is, at times, entertaining. There will always be some satisfaction to be had in cleaning up garbage and repairing furniture but this quickly becomes tedious.

Castle Renovator is definitely a game I will keep installed, however. While it won’t be a great contender to see you through a weekend of gaming, it serves its purpose well as a game to dip in and out of should the notion take you.

Ultimate Games’ latest manual labor simulator is out now on Xbox and at just under $3 (USD) is worth having in your library.

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